STA, 14 August 2018 - While the emerging five-party government is widely being described as Slovenia's first minority cabinet, legal dilemmas have arisen regarding the real status of the Left, which has pledged support from the opposition. The classification of the party is for instance crucial for its role in parliamentary bodies in charge of oversight.
All our stories on the 2018 Parliamentary Elections can be found here
Constitutional law expert Ciril Ribičič spoke to the STA about the issues entailed in the Left backing the prime minister designate to secure absolute majority in the second round of the appointment process this Friday.
He pointed out that the Constitution characterizes a minority government as one formed after appointment in the third round, potentially also with relative majority enabled by a party abstaining from the vote.
This is not the case when it comes to the Left and would for example have repercussions in the case of a vote of no confidence in the government. It would mean the new PM-designate, necessary for a successful vote, would also need absolute as opposed to relative majority for appointment.
Ribičič spoke of a sui generis case, saying the government would be a majority government in terms of how it is appointed and a minority government in terms of not having majority support for the coalition agreement.
Also without precedent is the status of the Left, which Ribičič said is part of the coalition when it comes to certain agreed projects and simultaneously in the opposition given its stance on things like NATO membership and defence in general.
He feels it would be fair for the Left not to be given a decisive role in areas where this role is reserved for "real opposition parties". He highlighted the composition of parliamentary oversight commissions, where the opposition has the majority.
This was echoed by the temporary parliamentary Speaker Matej Tonin of the conservative New Slovenia (NSi), who said the role of the opposition was not to participate in the execution of power but in its oversight.
He said the Left would have the status of a coalition party and that it would be unacceptable for it to for instance tilt the scales in the commissions in charge of overseeing the state of public finances and secret services.
Miha Kordiš, an MP of the Left, begged to differ. He told the press the Left remained an opposition party even if it would cooperate with the government in certain areas that it finds crucial, notably healthcare, labour and welfare.
He added that talks on the Left potentially also participating via state secretaries at ministries were still under way. For the time being a protocol on cooperation has been initialled but the details remained to be coordinated.